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Scott makes amends with Nolan, gets a chance on 'D' tonight

By Mike Harrington

Let's get the answer to the big question inquiring minds want to know first. No, not trades. What's up with John Scott?

Scott and Ted Nolan both said they're cool with each other after the Sabres' interim coach booted his enforcer from practice yesterday. Nolan tried to downplay it this morning, saying "I asked him to stay in until he cooled down a little bit" but those of us who were there know better.

Scott, in fact, is going to be in the lineup at defense tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. He's going to partner with Jamie McBain while Henrik Tallinder gets the night off after just getting in this morning from Sochi.

As for yesterday's blowout, reporters gathered around Scott's locker after today's morning skate and that prompted catcalls from teammates with cracks like, "Anything to get on camera, Johnny."

"I obviously wasn't happy about it," Scott said. "No one likes getting sent off practice. I was having a tough practice. I just kinda overreacted a little bit, got a little upset. It happens and you move on.

"It was ironed out as soon as he came off the ice. I went and talked to him and apologized. We had a talk. Everything's fine. We're moving on, playing a game tonight."

"I was perfect with John Scott yesterday," Nolan said. "In this sport, sometimes you have those moments but it's forgotten right afterwards.

Scott said he understood why Nolan reacted the way he did.

"I'm surprised that that happened. It was kind of a weird event," he said. "I've never seen that happen before in my career. It was definitely something new but it's OK. We're fine now. I know exactly where he's coming from. He doesn't want lackadaisical practices and I was terrible yesterday. I couldn't make passes or anything.

"It was one of those days where nothing was going right. I understand his decision. I totally get what he's doing and I would have done the same thing probably."

There's no changes to the plan for tonight's lineup from what the Sabres have advertised the last few days. Ryan Miller will play goal, while the three players who were out with injuries prior to the Olympic break (Tyler Myers, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick) will all play tonight. McCormick has been out with a finger injury since Dec. 14, a span of 24 games. Zenon Konopka will be a healthy scratch along with Tallinder.

Because it's a gameday, Miller stayed with the custom followed by many NHL goaltenders of not speaking with the media prior to the game. 

You can click the file below to hear Nolan's pregame comments on Scott, Miller, Tallinder and his hopes for a faster game tonight with several healthy and fresh players in the lineup following the Olympic break.

Ted Nolan

The goal -- and the words -- of John Scott after a wild night


By Mike Harrington

TORONTO -- The video doesn't lie. John Scott scored a goal Friday night. I even wrote most of a story about just that because it was so far and away the talking point of the Sabres' 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs in Air Canada Centre.

It came at 7:53 of the first period on a Matt Ellis rebound. Second goal of his career, in his 200th NHL game. His first goal came for Minnesota, way back in November, 2009. (Scott joked he's had a lot of healthy scratches in his career and that's why he's only at 200 games).

There is some discrepancy who Jonathan Bernier joined in getting burned by a Scott goal. Scott said he beat Canes frontliner Cam Ward while one box score I saw said Michael Leighton played in the game and another I found said Ward. The Wild's site said Leighton as well. Hmmm. 

Scott's postgame presser was a riot. He talked about how he always seems to do "special stuff" in this building, referring to the September brawl and his November blast at Toronto's captain as "Princess Phaneuf."

Continue reading "The goal -- and the words -- of John Scott after a wild night" »

Sabres' Scott accepts seven-game ban, rips Pierre McGuire for commentary on Eriksson hit

By John Vogl

John Scott is OK with his seven-game suspension for hitting Loui Eriksson. He's not fine with how the head shot was portrayed by television announcer Pierre McGuire.

Scott said today he will not appeal the ban issued Thursday for connecting with the head of Boston's high-scoring forward last week.

"I’m just going to stick with what the league gave me," Scott said in First Niagara Center. "Hopefully, the issue will die and we can move on from there."

Scott will serve his fifth game of the suspension tonight when the Sabres host Anaheim.

The 6-foot-8 enforcer said he will be more responsible and err on the side of caution in the future, but he was not happy with how the hit was initially portrayed by NBC Sports' McGuire during the national telecast Oct. 23.

"I don’t think it was a late hit at all," Scott said. "I think Pierre McGuire shooting his mouth off right after the hit kind of got that in a lot of people’s minds. He went from, 'It’s a late hit, it’s an elbow, it’s a high hit, it’s a dirty hit.' He kind of was just throwing out all these different things just hopefully one will stick. It wasn’t a late hit. It was just kind of an unfortunate circumstance."

John Scott

Scott's suspension hearing to be held Thursday

By John Vogl

SUNRISE, Fla. -- John Scott's date with Brendan Shanahan is set for next week.

The Sabres' enforcer will have an in-person hearing with the NHL's disciplinarian on Thursday in New York City. The meeting, which will determine how many games Scott will be suspended for his head shot to Boston's Loui Eriksson, coincides with the Sabres' game in New York against the Rangers.

Scott will miss three games before the hearing. He is expected to get at least six games for the illegal hit.

Suspension awaits Sabres' Scott after illegal hit to head of Bruins' Eriksson

By John Vogl

John Scott is set to join Patrick Kaleta on the suspended list.

The Sabres' enforcer earned a match penalty Wednesday for a hit to the head of the Bruins' Loui Eriksson, an avoidable encounter that had Boston incensed.

"He did his job," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "He's there to do two things: to fight and to hurt. He did both of those things."

There was no update on the status of Eriksson, who was woozy and needed to be helped off the ice by two teammates.

The Sabres said Scott was not available for comment.

"I'm not going to comment on it," Sabres coach Ron Rolston said.

TSN reports Scott will have an in-person hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, which usually means a suspension of at least five games. Kaleta is appealing the 10-game ban he got for a head shot to Columbus' Jack Johnson.

Sabres' John Scott would be fine with banning fighting in NHL -- staged fights, that is

By John Vogl

John Scott says no to fights every game. He thinks they're stupid, and he'd be fine if they were outlawed.

Staged fights, that is.

"The staged fighting, the fights that don’t really mean anything, I can do without those," the Sabres' enforcer told The News today. "I know I’ve been in a few of those in my career, but there’s a time and place for every fight. Sometimes they don’t really matter. I can see where the league is coming from and the fans are coming from."

Fighting has once again become a hotly debated topic around the NHL after bad injuries to the Sabres' Corey Tropp and Montreal's George Parros. Hockey legends such as Steve Yzerman and Scotty Bowman have said it's time for fighting to go.

Scott agrees with only part of it and says heat-of-the-moment battles still have a place.

Continue reading "Sabres' John Scott would be fine with banning fighting in NHL -- staged fights, that is" »

With audio: Rolston says Tropp out 5-6 weeks with broken jaw, NHL fine for Scott-Kessel incident is 'because it was John'

By Mike Harrington

The Buffalo Sabres move on tonight with the preseason home finale against Columbus in First Niagara Center (it's the only MSG telecast of the preseason). But the talk of the dressing room after today's morning skate was still back on Sunday's chaos in Toronto and the league's decision Tuesday to fine coach Ron Rolston for "player selection and player conduct."

Before commenting on his fine, which is believed to be $10,000, Rolston announced that winger Corey Tropp suffered a broken jaw in his fight with Jamie Devane that was the precursor to the big brawl. Tropp, who also suffered a mild concussion, will be out 5-6 weeks.

Prior to the next faceoff, John Scott initiated a fight against Leafs winger Phil Kessel and a full line brawl erupted featuring goalies Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier. Rolston was clearly fined for Scott's actions and tried to be diplomatic toward league officials Wednesday.

"It's part of what they do," Rolston said. "They have to make a decision on what's best for the league. Those are things we can't control so we do what is handed down and go from there.  It's because it was John. It's just more reputation but he had played the whole game, played well and was playing a good game for us. He had an assist on the first goal. He's worked hard on his game to play hockey too. But I think obviously reputation is a big part of that."

"I was pretty surprised. I didn't expect that," Scott said. "I was a little shocked by it. ... It was strange because I was already on the ice and we had first change. I think it's foreign territory as far as player selection and coaches getting fined. "

Continue reading "With audio: Rolston says Tropp out 5-6 weeks with broken jaw, NHL fine for Scott-Kessel incident is 'because it was John'" »

More from Scott and the hockey world on the big brawl

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read today's story on the reaction to the Leafs-Sabres brawl, featuring the first public comments from Sabres tough guy John Scott. The Sabres are off today while Leafs forward David Clarkson, who got a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench, did not speak to Toronto reporters for the second straight day. Might want to get it over with, big guy.

(Clarkson can't possibly be pondering an appeal, right? On what grounds? The video is the video. It's clear as day.)

10:30 p.m. update: Clarkson spoke to reporters after the Leafs' game against Ottawa and said he will not be appealing.

One of the things that didn't make my long story was Scott's thought on the Leafs not sending out a tough guy like wannabe-enforcer Troy Bodie against him rather than Phil Kessel (Toronto brawler Colton Orr was injured and not playing).

What if it had been Bodie and not the stick-wielding Kessel?

"It would have been done with," Scott said. "There wouldn't have been any brawl, the goalies wouldn't have fought, there wouldn't be any suspensions. It would have been two tough guys fighting it out like it's supposed to be done. It would have been done a lot different."

More reactions:

---Shortly after midnight Sunday, Ryan Miller tweeted,  "Well... that escalated quickly. #oldtimehockey #eddieshore". It has been retweeted or favorited nearly 9,000 times as of noon today.

---Tweet from former Sabres agitator Matt Barnaby: "I would fight Scott and lose but... he also could not have made my bantam team."

---Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner to Senators reporters: "Their heavyweight went after their star. And then Kessel went Star Wars on him. It was pretty good entertainment."

---Leafs alum Mikhail Grabovski to the Washington Post on Kessel's act: "He looked like a musketeer."

---Former NHL tough guy Jody Shelley, now a Blue Jackets broadcaster/ambassador, to the Columbus Dispatch: "I didn't mind the brawl. What I really didn't like was the fight before it where [Jamie Devane] drove [Corey] Tropp's head into the ice. The rest was whatever. The way the first fight ended, that really bothered me."

(Audio now included) Scott on the Throwdown in TO: 'I would have went after whoever they put lined up next to me'

By Mike Harrington

What should have been a routine September Monday in Sabres training camp turned into a bit of media circus this afternoon as reporters and camera crews from Toronto showed up at First Niagara Center to get the day-after thoughts about Sunday night's brawl with the Leafs in the Air Canada Centre.

The star of the show was Sabres enforcer John Scott, who was unavailable to the media Sunday. The 6-foot-8 Scott stood tall in front of his locker and calmly answered every question he got Monday, pointing out that he was not targeting Leafs star Phil Kessel. In the wake of Jamie Devane's beatdown of Corey Tropp a few seconds earlier, the Sabres were not going to be picky.

"I said, 'Phil I think we're going to have to go here, just to let you know,' " Scott said. "I would have went after who ever they put lined up next to me. I don't know what their coach had in mine. I wasn't trying to hurt him. I was just trying to send a message."

Scott and the Sabres were surprised Leafs coach Randy Carlyle -- who had the last line change -- opted for a scoring line in that situation rather than tough guy Troy Bodie. Did Scott break hockey's unwritten code that an enforcer shouldn't engage a star?

"Hey, I'd be pissed off if someone went after my star guy too," Scott said. "It's one of those things. Their coach didn't have to put Kessel out with me.

Scott said his legs are surprised from the stick swings Kessel took against him and that he was surprised by the reaction from the Leafs star.

Continue reading "(Audio now included) Scott on the Throwdown in TO: 'I would have went after whoever they put lined up next to me'" »

Day-after thoughts on the crazy tussle in Toronto


By Mike Harrington

The Sabres don't practice until 11:45 today. So that means it's going to be early this afternoon before we get any injury updates or hear from any of them with any second-day thoughts on last night's third-period festivities in Toronto that are the talk of the hockey world today.

Be sure to see John Vogl's post from last night with the complete penalty list. I'm told it was updated multiple times all the way to around 1 a.m.

Sportsnet's Chris Johnston points out that David Clarkson's likely 10-game suspension for charging off the bench is going to hurt the Leafs on the ice -- and put them in a big salary cap pickle as well. Suspended players still count against the cap, with Clarkson and Phil Kessel likely both doing some time.

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star blames Ron Rolston for the whole thing. I was not there and a key point I missed that Cox missed also was that Rolston did not send John Scott on to the ice for a pound of flesh. Scott was already out there for the fight between Corey Tropp and Jamie Devane. 

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! has a good Q&A here about the particulars of the punch-up.

From watching the video, here are my quick thoughts:

John Scott: He was going to extract his pound of flesh. Bad optics doing it against a top Leafs guy however. Still, it's not unlike Adam Mair and Andrew Peters going after Jason Spezza and the boys from Ottawa in that infamous dustup in 2007 after Chris Drury had been KO'd. People in Toronto want Scott suspended but he did nothing to earn a ban. He instigated a fight, got penalized for it and that was that. You want to argue Scott can't play and doesn't belong in the league, that's a different argument. He should get nothing from Brendan Shanahan for this one.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle: He was one of the biggest dopes in all of this. He had the last change. After seeing Tropp in distress being taken off the ice and seeing Scott remain on, he sends out his scorers thinking it would diffuse things? How does he line up Phil Kessel -- Phil Kessel! -- next to John Scott? 

Kessel: What was he thinking? He obviously wasn't. You're not a fighter and you have a 6-8, 270-pound guy coming at you, just back away. No one will think less of you. Use your stick like Paul Bunyan and you get a match penalty and perhaps a 2-3 game suspension. And it wasn't one love-tap either. It was three. Plus a spear later on in the melee.

This GIF is making the rounds today. Pretty funny. Stick as lightsaber.

Kessel-lightsaber

Ron Rolston: No issues. The Sabres can't be happy about seeing what happened with Tropp. He has to like the way his players were all in. Even Ryan Miller. 

David Clarkson: Here's the biggest dope. He didn't need to come off the bench. The Leafs on the ice had Scott contained. So now the biggest contract in franchise history starts with 10 games on the sidelines? That's crazy. And as Johnston wrote (link above), what do they do about money now in terms of Cody Franson or Mason Raymond? A veteran player should have known better.

Sabres re-sign enforcer John Scott to one-year deal

By John Vogl

The Sabres brought in John Scott last season to make them a tougher team. They liked what they saw because they're keeping him around next season, too.

The Sabres have re-signed the 6-foot-8, 270-pounder to a one-year deal worth $750,000. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Continue reading "Sabres re-sign enforcer John Scott to one-year deal" »

Morning skate updates: Thomas Vanek out, Ryan Miller back in

By Jay Skurski

Leading scorer Thomas Vanek will not play tonight when the Buffalo Sabres host the Toronto Maple Leafs in First Niagara Center, interim coach Ron Rolston said this morning.

Vanek was hit by a Christian Ehrhoff shot Tuesday night in the second period of the Sabres' game in Montreal.

"He's better today," Rolston said. "He feels, actually, good. We're starting the process, so we're hoping to get him on the ice tomorrow."

It looks like Vanek will be joined in the press box by forward Nathan Gerbe, who's expected to be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

"I think he's working hard, but we have to make some tough decisions right now in our lineup," Rolston said of Gerbe. "I can only have 12 forwards in there and [he] was a player that I think didn't give us a reason to keep him in right now. And that's what he has to work for."

Burly forward John Scott is expected to be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games.

Ryan Miller will start in goal for Buffalo.

Final thoughts and audio from a wild night in Beantown

Vanek goal
Thomas Vanek burns Tuukka Rask for his hat trick goal. (AP)

 

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- So much happened in the Sabres' 7-4 win over the Bruins that it's hard to process in the hour or two immediately after it. My sense, however, is this has the potential to be a huge turnaround game. Quick hits:

---The Sabres need to get some scoring out of more than one line but Thomas Vanek is so hot right now, it doesn't matter. He's got 15 points in just six games this season -- and 54 points (28-26) in just 46 career games against Boston. And his passing has never been better.

"He's been awesome," said coach Lindy Ruff. "That play to Tyler Ennis [to score Buffalo's third goal] was second to none. Outmuscled a guy in front of the net and really a diving type pass that helped us get back in the game."

"The puck is going in," Vanek said. "I've always been a good passer in my mind. People are focusing on it more right now because the puck is going in."

Continue reading "Final thoughts and audio from a wild night in Beantown" »

Ruff wants two points from Bruins, not a pound of flesh

 

By Mike Harrington

BOSTON -- It's been nearly 15 months but Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller was still on the media's minds today in TD Garden in advance of tonight's Sabres-Bruins game. Boston reporters swarmed new Sabres Steve Ott and John Scott in the locker room after the team's 40-minute pregame skate and peppered Lindy Ruff with questions about the Sabres' new approach.

Was adding Ott and Scott a reaction to Lucic? "It was just overall team toughness, make us a grittier team," said a clearly agitated Ruff. "It had nothing to do with the Bruins."

"You try to win the puck battles and the territorial battles. We have to win a game. Not coming out of here with points is not being successful. In a short season we need points. We've answered the physcial challenge. We've been there for each other from day one in this. We play a gritty style, a hitting style. We have to win games."

Continue reading "Ruff wants two points from Bruins, not a pound of flesh" »

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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